There are many preachers and churches (so-called, anyway) that have decided that people are pretty tired of hearing about sin. Instead of sin, messages are becoming more positive. Churches and pastors who talk about sin too much are becoming unpopular, their churches are getting smaller, and many seem to be just sort of dying out.
Do you wonder what God thinks about that? Maybe churches should ease off the sin issue a bit just to keep from being repulsive to people.
Before we make such a decision, we have to decide how much stock we are going to put in the Bible. If we decide it is outdated and outmoded, or if we decide it is a book of myths and fairy tales, or if we decide it is for another culture of another era, or if we decide all of the above, then we will probably decide to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. (And while we are at it we may as well latch on to the affirmative and don’t even mess with Mr. In-Between.) We will do what we can to keep people happy, keep people coming, and, of course, keep people giving offerings.
But if we decide that the Bible is God’s Book for all the ages, if we decide it is actually the Word of God, if we decide that it is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself and His ways to the people whom He created in His image, then we have a dilemma on our hands.
Because the Bible clearly teaches that God cares a great deal about sin. The Bible clearly teaches that if we ignore what He has said about it, that very harsh judgment will certainly come. And if that is true, then those who believe it have a responsibility to warn folks what they are in for if they continue in their ways.
That message is not (and never has been) a pleasant message to proclaim or to hear.
But if it’s true, then the time will come when we will regret yielding to the temptation to present more palatable content.
Maybe, just for the record, we should consider a few things the Bible has to say about the matter.
“The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)
“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices.” (Proverbs 1:22-31)
“Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”” (Revelation 6:15-17)
“But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation.” (Jeremiah 10:10)
“A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1)
“For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen To the instruction of the LORD; Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant, whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter’s jar, So ruthlessly shattered That a sherd will not be found among its pieces to take fire from a hearth or to scoop water from a cistern.”” (Isaiah 30:9-14)
“Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it. For the LORD’S indignation is against all the nations, And His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter.” (Isaiah 34:1-2)
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
We could go on, but the point is clearly made. According to the Bible, God takes sin seriously.
Meanwhile, He provides great peace to His people in the midst of the storm raging all around.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;” (Psalms 46:1-2)
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. “Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
So we all have a decision to make. Chunk the Bible and accentuate the positive and keep whistling as long as we can. Or agree with God about sin, repent, and walk with Him.
We are certainly free to choose either of the two. But we do not get to choose the consequences.
We get to choose what we sow, but we do not get to choose what we reap.